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September 05, 2013

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
 St. Martin's Press
Publication date: September 10, 2013
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: NetGalley
Format: eARC
Pages: 405
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
Fangirl has solidified Rainbow Rowell as a must buy, must read, must recommend kind of author. Her YA debut, Eleanor & Park was one of my favorite books of 2012, and also top 10 favorite YA novels I've ever read. I have to admit I was kind of scared that I would be disappointed by Fangirl. I've been burnt more than once by my high expectations of a novel because I loved the author's previous one. But no, Rainbow Rowell didn't disappoint. I can go as far as saying Rainbow Rowell's books are magical. Many contemporary books are interesting but in the end lack the magic I look for. What is this magic you ask? Well here are a couple of points that can help you in knowing whether the book you're reading has the magic or not. 
1. Throughout the book, your heart is always beating above the normal heartbeats per minute. Fangirl had a ton of intense family moments that kept me on the edge of my seat, as well as moments between Cath, the main protagonist, and Liv, the love interest, that had me fangirl-ing (see what I did there?) to the extreme. 
2. When a book stays in your head and preoccupies your thoughts even when you put it down. It is the type of book that makes you stay up all night to read, or wake up earlier just to squeeze in a few chapters. 
3. You tend to have a sudden urge to stop reading and hug your book or ereader because you have an overload of emotions you need to transfer, and the only outlet is through hugging that book or ereader that contains it. 
4. You look at the page number and your heart drops when you notice you have less than 100 pages left. You try to read as slow as you can in order to stay in this magical world for as long as possible. 
All those apply to Fangirl. Every.Single.One. 
Plot-wise, Rainbow Rowell's novels aren't extravagant and over the top with intense drama, and complicated plot twists. They are simple, clean, clear, and realistic. I witnessed that in Eleanor & Park and also in Fangirl. We've got Cath and her twin sister starting college. The two girls have done everything together and are both part of the Simon Snow fandom (think Harry Potter). However, Wren drops the bomb and tells Cath she doesn't want to room with her. Cath was so heartbroken that I couldn't but feel so sad for her. Also, Wren drifted away from the Simon Snow fandom and Cath is in it alone. Both girls used to write fan fiction but now only Cath does, and she has thousands upon thousands of readers. I really connected with the girls because I was also, and still am, a huge fangirl when it comes to Harry Potter. We also get to witness problems with Cath's mother who abandoned the family when they were in third grade, as well as issues her dad faces when the girls leave for college and their dad stays alone in the house. I loved the relationship between Cath and her dad, it wasn't a perfect one or a broken one, it was in between where each one of them needed to lean on the other at times. 
Back at university, Wren chooses the partying type of life while Cath holes herself in her room, writing fan fiction. Cath might sound like a loner, but in fact she is just socially awkward. It took her two weeks to venture out to the university haul and even brought a couple of boxes of protein bars to allow her to survive in her room. Of course her roommate and her roommate's friend, Liv (squeal) took every chance they got to tease her about this. There was a ton of the humor I read in Eleanor & Park in the conversations between those three. As for Liv *sigh* that boy was worth any girl's love. He was a friend when Cath needed one but didn't want to admit it, and a guy who told Cath everything she needed to hear, whether it was good or bad. I personally loved Liv to the extreme. Hard core fangirl-ing here. He is twenty one years old so I didn't feel bad for crushing on him, thanks Rainbow Rowell! 
To sum this long review up, every single character, whether primary, secondary, or tertiary, had a reason to be in the book. As well as all the issues, drama, and fandom. Some plot lines were left open ended because that was how it is. In real life not everything gets wrapped up in a neat pretty bow. I think that is what I most appreciate about Rowell's books, as well as the magic she sprinkles on every single character, chapter, sentence, and word in her books. 
Also, check out my video review of it!
          Other books by Rainbow Rowell:
           Eleanor & Park


  1. Ahh Juhina! I pretty much want to hit myself on the head for not requesting this book when it was available. It sounds like such a good book and I can tell that I would love it. I can't wait to meet Cath and Liv who sound absolutely amazing!
    Lovely review! :)

  2. I have heard some great things about this book. I didn't even know about it until it released yesterday and I saw it all over some of my favorite blogs.

    This looks like such a fun read. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much

    thanks for the great review :)

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  3. DYING to read Rainbow Rowell now! Great review!

  4. Glad you enjoyed it! :) I've been thinking about picking this one up.

  5. "simple, clean, clear, and realistic." I couldn't agree more!!! I love E&P and I'm so mad that I didn't request an advance copy of Fangirl. I'm so glad it's coming out in few days, dying to read it! Fantastic review, Juhina! :)

  6. I've read a few reviews on this book, and yours has by far made me the most excited about it! I feel like I need to go buy it right now. I love it when a book can get inside your head and makes you think about it so often. Great review :)

  7. Sounds like a really good book and so relatable. I'm like addicted to tumblr and fandoms! Haven't read anything by Rainbow Rowell have heard so many good things about Eleanor and Park but I think Fangirl will be my first by her as it appeals more to me. Great review! :)

  8. I'm glad you liked this! I've seen positive and negative reviews for this book, but I think I'll still end up reading it. The cover is just too cute =)

  9. Juhina I'm so glad that Fangirl met all your four criteria above, because they are honestly the points which totally make a book for me. Lately I've been finding it difficult getting a book which makes me want to stay up until the early hours, so you've sold me completely on this point. I didn't have much luck with Eleanor & Park, but I really think that Fangirl would be my sort of book! Lovely review!

  10. I've been really curious about this one and have been hearing some great things about it. I've been seeing so much about it lately, but I never thought I would actually read it. Now I want to! Great review Juhina :)

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  11. Wow, five stars!!! I think I'll have to get hold of a copy of the book - I want to meet Cath and Liv :)

  12. Le sigh, WHY IS THIS BOOK NOT IN MY HANDS YET. :( I love that feeling of just falling in love with a book and just cradling it when you finish. I'm so glad Fangirl didn't disappoint you AT ALL. I agree with you, Rowell's books don't have a MAJOR plot development, but her characters totally make up for it. Fabulous review, Juhina!

  13. Wow, sounds like you had a FANTASTIC time with this book. I've yet to read a Rainbow Rowell book, but am really looking forward to it now. Beautiful review! :)

  14. Yay :D So happy you loved Fangirl as well <3 So damn perfect. Sigh. I just want more and more from the author :) She's awesome. Thank you for sharing <3